10 PowerPoint Tips to Design Better Presentations

By Robert Half on June 30, 2014 at 7:00am

You don’t have to be a graphic designer to make your presentations come alive. Try these PowerPoint tips to take your PowerPoint design to the next level.

Have you ever sat through a presentation and fought to keep your eyes open? It doesn’t take much to make a big difference. A little visual stimulation can go a long way to help get your point across. Here are some simple but effective PowerPoint tips:

1. Don’t re-invent the wheel

A template is a good starting point. It offers a solid foundation that you can build on to make your own. Microsoft has a collection of PowerPoint templates in addition to more than 150 templates with picture and text effects that are visually engaging and professionally designed. These templates combine graphics with simple or animated text as well as cool background effects.

2. Grab them at the get-go

A strong cover slide is a great way to set the tone for the entire presentation. It also provides you with a visual theme to carry on throughout the rest of the presentation to make it cohesive.

3. Add some eye candy

When you use graphics, choose images that serve a purpose, such as a chart or diagram that displays a direct benefit of your idea. Consider using photographs, but make sure they are quality images. Many websites offer free stock photography. Balance text and graphics and pay attention to image placement.

4. Design tip to shout from the rooftops: keep it simple

When it comes to creating effective PowerPoint presentations, less is more. While you want to create a wow factor, you also want to ensure your message doesn’t get lost in the razzle-dazzle. Don’t crowd the slides. Include only relevant points and images. Limit yourself to five or six words per line and three to four bullets per slide.

5. Get in shape

PowerPoint slides are usually rectangular, but they don’t have to be. You can use any PowerPoint shape as a container for a picture.

6. Make it pop

It’s a good idea to have a consistent color scheme throughout your presentation. Contrast text color with background color. If you need help combining colors, a color wheel can help.

7. Make fonts your friend

You want fonts that are easy to read. Don’t be afraid of standard fonts just because they are conservative. Your goal is to appear clean and professional. Using novelty fonts just because they look different jeopardizes this. For readability’s sake, avoid script fonts and ALL CAPS.

8. Be a matchmaker

Put corresponding words and images near each other, so people don’t have to scan all over the slide to make the connections.

9. The dynamic duo

Consider using video and audio to convey your message more effectively. Dynamic content such as a short video or recorded narration or music that illustrates an important point is a great way to keep your audience from reaching for their coffee.

10. Tickle their funny bone

A little humor goes a long way, so don’t pour it on too thick. If you have a 20-slide presentation, perhaps break it up with two amusing slides. A simple comic illustration can be quite effective. Just make sure it’s a quick read.

When you consider how to make a PowerPoint presentation, the main goal is to grab the viewer’s attention through text, color and images while keeping it concise, clear and focused. Put these PowerPoint tips to work for you now!

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